Schock, US House Ag Committee Chair address local farmers

By Anna Yee

August 7, 2012 Updated Aug 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, DC -- The drought's devastating effects on agriculture, and the government's lack of action, have been making headlines lately.

On Tuesday, Congressman Aaron Schock hosted an Agriculture Summit at Lincoln College.

The expo opened the floor for area farmers and ag experts to voice their concerns.

Last month, the US Senate passed a farm bill designed to aid farmers and people using food stamps.

However, the US House could not round up enough support to advance the measure.

Schock says that's due, in part, to the more than 300 Congress members who don't have large agricultural districts.

"In order to get those 300 people to vote for this farm bill, there's got to be something in it for their constituents, and largely that is the food stamp program," said Rep. Schock, (R) IL, 18th District.

"I don't think you're going to see them get separated," continued Schock, "but I do think there's some momentum to reform the food stamp program."

US Representative Frank Lucas and Chairman of the House Ag. Committee also spoke Tuesday at Lincoln and at an economic summit in Normal.

"The legislative process requires a majority of 435 to agree," said Lucas, (R) OK, "and in spite of my best efforts, and my ag committee's best efforts, and a whole bunch of members of Illinois congress, we couldn't get to the 218 to get it done. We tried. We tried hard."

Congressman Lucas says he's hopeful House members will get a farm bill passed, but not likely before the September 30th expiration date.

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